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    by Published on 01-30-2013 08:17 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. HowardForums,
    4. From The Forums

    Just wanted you all to know that we'll be at the BB10 launch today. We'll be covering it live here:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...7#post15046877 ...
    by Published on 01-29-2013 09:17 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. HowardForums,
    3. From The Forums,
    4. Commentary and Analysis
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    I was thinking about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 when I decided to throw together a 2013 Hardware guide. While some of 2013ís Android flagships have already been announced I thought it would be fun to discuss upcoming features plus make a wish list for them. Anyone have any features they'd like to see on the upcoming offerings from Samsung, LG, Motorola?

    Like all phones, they all have to play the hardware game, so spec-wise, theyíre all going to be similar.

    So far phones like the Huawei D2, Sony Xperia Z, etc have:


    • 5" 1920x1080
    • water resistance
    • quad-core processors
    • 2GB RAM
    • 2500-3000mAh batteries
    • 13MP camera


    To me, the most important new features will be the bigger batteries and water resistance. The Note II has a 3000mAh+ battery which makes it one of the only 'full day' phones I've tried.

    As for water resistance you no longer to worry about using your phone in the rain. You can send Tweets from the shower (Taking a shower! #clean #dropped the soap), post Facebook status updates (Howard is cleaning his junk), take pictures underwater when you're on vacation. Need I say more? ...
    Published on 01-26-2013 08:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. From The Forums

    It looks like starting today it's going to be illegal to unlock your phone in the US. Apparently, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prevents American from doing this.

    Now you need to ask your carrier first before you can unlock.

    Unlocking a phone has been part of the phone industry for years. I remember unlocking my Nokia 5190 around 10 years ago. So, it's a bit of a joke that it's now illegal.

    Mind you, in the US there isn't a great deal of mobility between carriers because each carrier uses either a slightly different technology and or frequency. Still, it prevents you from moving to a carrier's MVNO.

    So, if you unlock your phone now will some Jack Bauer type kick down your door?

    If you think this is wrong/ridiculous/stupid/outrageous/etc make sure you sign the petition here.

    May God help us all. Thoughts?

    Thanks berry_lthird!
    ...
    by Published on 01-24-2013 08:16 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    Just got word that RIM's BB10 device will be launching on Feb 5th. It will be $650 no contract and will be available in black or white.

    Dealers should be getting stock Jan 30th.

    Who's excited? I'm pretty pumped for the launch next week. Anyone going to get one? Is your iPhone/Galaxy for sale right now? ...
    by Published on 01-23-2013 08:09 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News
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    A few years ago, RIM was the top dog in the Smartphone arena. Since then, competitors like Android and iOS have emerged and surpassed Blackberry.

    Smartphones havenít been a niche market for some time now, so the cost to enter the market is very high now. In fact, Android and iOS have become so entrenched through their platforms and ecosystems that itís hard to imagine anyone muscling in on their racket.

    So, with the imminent release of Blackberry 10 next week I canít help but wonder whether this will be the last big Smartphone OS launch. Going forward, Android and iOS will probably only get stronger. After BB10, the only new entrants weíre going to see are niche players like Tizen, Ubuntu, Firefox OS or possibly something really cheap; not really aimed at the North American market. Though Android already has cheap covered. Actually, in the future we probably wonít have any new OS' but rather weíll see companies fork Android and do their own thing with it like Amazon.

    But enough of Android, back onto RIM and BlackBerry 10. ...
    by Published on 01-22-2013 12:56 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Just got word that Microsoft will releasing the Surface Windows 8 Pro on Feb 9th in the 'States and Canada. It's Tablet that runs full Windows 8.

    I have a Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T tablet that's running Windows 8 and a Asus Vivo Tab RT running Windows RT and to me, if you're going to get a Windows tablet right now a Windows 8 one makes more sense. I've only played with them for a few days but with Windows 8 and RT Microsoft has taken Windows and turned it into a touch friendly platform.

    The thing is, while they haven't converted EVERYTHING yet. I'd say 80% of the touch related stuff comprises about 30% of Windows. So 20% of the time you have to use the other 70% of the 'still touch-enabled but not that touch friendly' stuff. There's a reason why Microsoft leaves the classic desktop behind. Sometimes you have to use it.

    Since RT isn't backwards compatible with x86 it makes more sense to buy an x86 tablet at this point. Now, if Microsoft can get a lot of support behind RT things may change but to be honest. The difference between RT and regular Windows 8 is so confusing I don't think consumers understand the difference.

    In case you didn't know, RT runs on the ARM architecture - just like your iPhones and Galaxy S. Windows 8 is for x86 processors - just like your old laptop/desktop. Doesn't sound too complicated but it's not easy to explain to regular users.

    The Surface Windows 8 Pro will come with a 10.6" 1920x1080 display and either 64GB or 128 of storage. It will weigh 2lbs and feature an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of storage. You'll get 802.11abgn, dual 720p cameras and a 42 watt hr battery.

    The specs look solid - more so than the Samsung ATIV I have right now though the ATIV is probably cheaper.

    10.6" is a good size display. The ATIV has a 11.6" which is too big to use comfortably. The extra resolution will be welcome too as the ATIV looks slightly coarse at times.

    4GB of RAM and Core i5 are also big steps up from the ATIV's meager 2GB and wheezing ATOM processor. 64GB of storage is adequate if you don't crazy loading media and programs on it. 128GB is probably a better bet. The dual 720p cameras is weak when most Android and iOS tablets have 5MP+ on the back but I guess it's still adequate. The 42wh battery is also probably well sized for what you get.

    My only concern is the Surface Pro's weight. The ATIV weighs 1.7lbs which is borderline too heavy. The Surface is smaller and weighs 2lbs which some may find makes it tiresome to use.

    Microsoft will also be releasing a 64GB version of the Surface RT that doesn't come with the keyboard plus there will be new Touch Covers and a Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition. ...
    by Published on 01-18-2013 12:05 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers

    DEVELOPING STORY:

    No names yet, but news broke internally, Tony Lacavera is out. Not bad for my estimates from last year (18 days off). We'll see more details hit probably soon with who is replacing him. It's someone from Orascom from what I heard.

    ORASCOM has bought out all remaining assets from Globalive, leaving Globalive with a 0.7% stake in the company. Which it pretty much only put in about that much from the start, if even that.

    EDIT: Further information is that any affiliation of Globalive and WIND are to be withdrawn as well. Leaving Tony with Globalive as his own asset, but otherwise nothing of value to Orascom and WIND. ...
    by Published on 01-15-2013 10:42 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers
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    Just got word that Rogers will be getting more colours for the Nokia Lumia 920. Right now it's only available in black but 'in the coming weeks' it will also come in red, white and yellow.

    *update - I made incorrect statements about some 920 colours being painted* ALL colours of the 920 are made unpainted. When you drop a black 920 and it chips the material underneath the surface is the same colour so it wears better.

    You can order the new colours for the Lumia 920 via Roger's Reservation System. Rogers is also doing a contest for the new colours on their blogs Redboard and Fil Rouge

    Personally, the yellow is pretty sharp and I lusted over it the moment when I first saw it back in Sept. Anyone want to trade my black for a yellow one? ...
    by Published on 01-14-2013 09:35 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    Just got word that multi-view support is coming to the Samsung Galaxy Note II. This feature was previously found on international ...
    by Published on 01-08-2013 09:59 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Huawei just announced the Ascend W1 Windows Phone 8. It's a midrange device that's aimed at Nokia 820 and the HTC Windows Phone 8s.

    It's a HSPA+ device with a dual-core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8230 processor. The 820's has a similar processor that's clocked at 1.5Ghz while the 8s' runs at 1Ghz. You also get 512MB of RAM and a 800x480 display - just like the 820 and 8s.

    There's a 5 megapixel camera on the back and a VGA front-facing camera. There's 4GB of storage which can be expanded with MicroSD cards. 802.11 abgn WiFi and considering it's specs, it's got a relatively large 1950mAh battery.

    It will be available blue, red, black and white though whether it gets picked up here and in what colour remains to be seen. ...
    by Published on 01-08-2013 09:32 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Huawei just announced the Ascend Mate. It has a gigantic 6.1" 1280x720 HD IPS+ display. Is it similar to the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G display but only bigger? The other big number is the huge 4050mAh battery. That's almost as big as the batteries in many 7" tablets like the Nexus 7, Playbook, Kindle Fire, etc.

    Powering all this is a custom Huawei processor with a 1.5 GHz quad-core Hi-Silicon K3V2 + Intel XMM6260 GPU. I've never heard of the Intel XMM6260 but the K3V2 is a Cortex A9 design so it probably won't be as fast at non-graphic duties as a Quad-core Krait.

    Other specs include 2GB RAM (very nice), Android 4.1 and 802.11 ABGN dual-band WiFi. Like the Ascend P1 and D Quad XL it's listed as having penta-band support. Hopefully they'll bring out an LTE version for North America.

    Software-wise there's a one-handed mode which looks familiar, limited multi-window support (reminds me of the Xperia T). Guiding wizard is Navigation that uses the camera to overlay the directions over what you actually see. I've seen Navigation with augmented reality before but it was only a demo. I hope it works well because it's a feature I've been waiting for.

    The specs are interesting. It's got the biggest screen out there but it's not a 1080P display which makes me think it's a mid-upper range device rather than a range topper.

    Anyways, it looks like a great device for the 'mine is bigger than yours' crowd. Can't wait to check one of these one and lord of the poor saps squinting at their Note II displays. ...
    by Published on 01-08-2013 09:16 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview


    Huawei just announced the Ascend D2. It's the latest phone from an Android OEM with a 5" 1920x1080 display. It has a pixel density of 443PPI which is higher than most of last year's 4.x" 1280x720 displays which weighed in at around 3xxPPI. Huawei calls it a "super Retina display".

    It also comes with a 13MP camera, 2GB RAM, Android 4.1, 32GB storage (yeah!), no MicroSD (boo!), a 3000mAh battery (why does the HTC Droid DNA only come with a 2100mAh?), dual-band 802.11 ABGN (finally) and is available in blue and white (sound familiar?)

    It's also listed as being water resistant but I'm not sure how water resistant it will be. Will I be able to use it while I shower?

    I'm not sure how the banding is going to work but according to this page it only supports HSPA. My guess is that the North American version will be HSPA only too but with more band support.

    The dimensions are listed as 140 mm x 71 mm x 9.4 mm. 9.4mm is a bit thicker than the Xperia Z's 7.9mm but from my experience, anything under 10mm is thin enough. If the extra 1.5mm allows for the 3000mAh battery then I'm all for it.

    Under the hood is a Huawei custom quad-core processor. It's listed as a "1.5 GHz quad-core Hi-Silicon K3V2 + Balong V7R1 ". I recently reviewed the Huawei D Quad XL which had the same processor core but a different GPU. If this is indeed the same processor then it should provide similar non-graphic performance as other Cortex A9 chips. That means performance will be adequate but will lag A15 (not sure if any current or 'coming soon' phones have an A15) and quad-core Qualcomm Kraits.

    Looks like a nice device. The 3000mAh battery is a really nice surprise as is the water resistance. Can't wait to try this one! ...
    by Published on 01-07-2013 08:09 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Sony just announced the Xperia Z at CES. It sports a 5" 1920x1080 display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, NFC and 13 megapixel camera. It's only 7.9mm thick

    The camera has a Exmor RS sensor which supports HDR video (high dynamic range). Sony says it allows for clear images against a strong backlight. I wonder if it also helps in low light?

    Also interesting is the fact that it's water and dust resistant (IP55 & IP57). IP55 means that it's able to be submerged in up to 1M of water for up to 30 mins. Does this mean I can use it while I'm taking a bath or shower?

    Sony didn't reveal the size of the battery but it does have 'Battery STAMINA' mode which shuts down certain apps when the screen is off and turns them back on when you turn the screen back on.

    Sweet phone. Anyone gonna get one or are you going to wait to see what other OEM's 5" 1080P devices are like? ...
    by Published on 01-04-2013 09:44 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. HowardForums,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    Hereís the Samsung Galaxy Camera (Iím going to call it the ďCameraĒ with an uppercase ďCĒ). Itís basically the result of a wild night between a camera and a smartphone. Itís a digital camera with a 16 megapixel sensor and 21x zoom lens with a Samsung Galaxy S III complete with HSPA modem and 4.8Ē screen grafted onto the back.

    Itís safe to say that these days, most pictures end up on the web and will never be printed out. So, digital cameras have it rough these days. You see, theyíre just too inconvenient.

    What would you rather do? Snap a picture, wait till you get home, download it to your PC before you upload it to the web and then tag it with the location? Or would you rather snap a picture with your Smartphone and then choose to upload it to the web complete with location information.

    Why would anyone bother using a dedicated camera if itís so much less convenient to use? There are 2 reasons; dedicated cameras usually have higher quality plus they usually offer you more flexibility/capabilities. ...
    by Published on 12-30-2012 04:08 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis
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    With another year almost past I thought Iíd reflect on what has been in the mobile industry.

    iOS:

    On the iOS front what stuck out was how Apple began diversifying their iPad lineup. At the beginning of the year we just had the iPad 2. A few months in we got the 3rd generation iPad with quadruple the resolution which was surprisingly replaced just a few months later with a 4th generation model which has the same resolution as the 3rd gen but with a faster processor.

    More importantly, Apple released the iPad Mini. Basically itís an iPad 2 in a smaller package with a better camera and a lower price tag. While Apple really had a chance to strike at Android with the iPad Mini they basically maintained the status quo with the Miniís $329 price tag.

    Regardless, thereís still room for a ton of competition in the tablet market. ...
    by Published on 12-23-2012 12:38 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News

    Some boxing day flyers are now up so I figured I'd through a boxing day thread together. Really good deals have been bolded. I only included phones, tablets and memory cards.

    Highlights include $0 Apple iPhone 5's, Galaxy Note 2 for $0, Galaxy S III for $0 WITH $150 gift cards. There's also the HTC One X+ for $0 with a $100 gift card.

    Futureshop and Bestbuy are also blowing out the 3rd Gen Apple iPad's. WiFi versions are $20 off while the LTE versions are $80 off. What's the diff between the current iPad (4th gen) and the 3rd? The 3rd Gen has an older A5x SOC vs the A6x in the 4th gen. The 4th gen also has Apple's lightning connector. In my opinion these 2 features are not enough for you to spend extra to get the 4th gen one. I'm mighty temped myself. I just gave all my iPad mini's away and my toddler took my iPad 2...

    Tablet-wise I don't see anything too interesting besides the iPads. While Android tablets are substantially cheaper the Android Tablet ecosystem still isn't mature enough that I'd recommend you buy any of them. So with that mind if you want an Android Tablet spend as little as possible.

    If you're fortunate enough to own a phone with a microSD slot you can pick up a Lexar 32GB Class 10 for $19.99.

    I'm still working on this so you'll see other stores soon.
    ...
    by Published on 12-21-2012 11:23 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. HowardForums,
    4. Contests and Giveaways



    ***UPDATE: New winner chosen for the Nokia Lumia 920***

    ***UPDATE 2: All the prizes have been claimed. Thank you all for participating***

    The giveaway winners have been chosen! Please join us in congratulating the following:

    • Forum member tk_chan - Nexus 4 winner!
    • Forum member dakar8 - iPad mini (white) winner!
    • Twitter follower @jhaymoney - iPad mini (black) winner!
    • Forum member greenxgoblin - Nokia Lumia 920 winner!


    Winners, to claim your prize you must log in to your forum account and send a private message to administrator frail (click here) with your answer to the skill testing question and a valid shipping address. You have 24 HOURS to do so, otherwise your prize will be given to someone else.

    Congrats and Happy Holidays!
    Published on 12-12-2012 10:49 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News

    Looks like iPhone users can put Galaxies away because Google Maps is now available for iOS (again).

    Finally, I have public transit guidance on my iPhone.

    Go download it and let us know what you think! ...
    by Published on 12-11-2012 11:20 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. HowardForums,
    4. Contests and Giveaways



    Please join us in congratulating jwslam for being selected as the winner of the Maximum Signal In-Car Amplifier! Howard will be in touch soon with the details.

    For those who didn't win you still have a chance to win other great prizes in our second holiday giveaway!

    Thank you everyone for participating and Happy Holidays!
    by Published on 12-11-2012 06:12 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    Hot on the heels of the sexiest phone on the market; the HTC Windows Phone 8X is itís smaller sibling, the 8S.

    Like the 8X, the 8S is quite a looker. Itís easily one of the best looking phones on the market. Iím sure HTC will sell a lot of these just based on how it looks. Itís minimalist, expensive looking and original. All at the same time.



    Physically, it looks and feels just like a smaller version 8x. The only difference is the 8s has the bottom snaps off to reveal the MicroSD and MicroSIM slots, just like on the HTC Titan and Titan II. Also, the Ďedgesí of the 8s are a little more rounded than the 8x. It makes the 8s shape more organic and comfortable to hold.
    ...

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